Governor Babatunde Fashola
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Wednesday applied to withdraw the case he filed before an Abuja High Court, seeking to stop Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, from parading himself as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Wednesday, his lawyer, Professor Yemi Osibajo (SAN), filed an application seeking the court's leave to withdraw the suit.
In a motion on notice for withdrawal filed on Tuesday the Fashola sought leave of the court to withdraw the suit in order to enable him strategise and put his house in order.
Though the motion had not been moved, it was however vehemently opposed by Governor Jang and two other defendants in the suit.
Jang’s lawyer. Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), told the court that it was too late in the day for the governor to bring such a motion because parties had already joined issues by filing and exchanging necessary processes.
Oyetibo submitted that the plaintiff had not given any cogent and verifiable reason for his dramatic u-turn to withdraw at a point the parties were fully ready to go ahead with hearing the case.
Chief Paul Erokoro (SAN), standing for the third defendant in the suit, supported Oyetibo's position, as he said Fashola could not just apply to withdraw the case since both parties in the suit had formulated issues for determination by the court.
Erokoro urged the trial judge, Justice Peter Affen, to dismiss the entire suit in order not to waste the precious time of the court.
He argued that the case could not just be withdrawn because the defendants had filed their statements of defence and counter affidavits and served them on the plaintiff, following the issuance of originating summons on them.
Erokoro insisted that the entire suit should be dismissed along with the motion for withdrawal.
Justice Affen, however, asked the defendants to allow the plaintiff move his motion for withdrawal first after which they could argue against it.
The motion was then adjourned till September 9 for hearing.
Fashola had dragged his Plateau State counterpart before the court challenging his claim to the chairmanship of the NGF.
His grouse was that Jang stood for an election along with his counterpart from Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and lost with 16 votes to Amaechi’s 19.
He, therefore, asked the court to bar and prohibit Jang from parading himself as the NGF chairman.
But Jang in his defence, claimed that his chairmanship of the forum was in compliance with his endorsement in writing by majority of the governors and asked Justice Affen to strike out the suit against him.
He said Fashola was neither a contestant in the election nor a member of the NGF trustees and challenged his locus standi to institute the action without the consent of other governors.
Jang also claimed in his defence that Fashola did not disclose what he stood to lose and that his case did not disclose any reasonable cause of action and, therefore, should be dismissed.